Your body is speaking, but are you listening?
By Dr. Lauryn Lax
When sticking to a healthy diet, it can be easy to fall into the trap of eating the same foods again and again, like chicken and broccoli. But when our diets lack variety, we miss out on a range of nutrients.
If you’ve ever gone on a fad diet or let your blood sugar drop a little too low one day, you may have experienced a craving for unhealthy foods such as doughnuts, chips or cookies. This occurs because your body is trying to signal you that you are desperately in need of a particular nutrient. Here are eight common food cravings and what they actually mean:
- Cheese. If you crave cheese, you may be stressed or have an essential-fatty-acid or tyramine deficiency. For a fatty-acid deficiency, eat foods rich in omegas like nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and salmon. For a tyramine deficiency, eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchee, yogurt and grass-fed cheese.
- High-carb foods like bread, pasta and sandwiches. If you’re craving any of these foods, you may have hypoglycemia, a chromium deficiency or be fatigued. Eating healthy fats like avocado, coconut butter and coconut oil, leafy greens, pastured meats and wild-caught fish will curb hypoglycemia. For a chromium deficiency, try adding broccoli, potatoes, garlic, grapes, basil and oranges to your diet.
- Chocolate. Chocolate cravings most often mean a magnesium deficiency, which can be fixed with dark, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and 100 percent cocoa.
- Salty or crunchy foods. A craving for chips and pretzels, for instance, may mean you are dehydrated, stressed or have a chloride deficiency. Hydrate with water with a pinch of sea salt and lemon, make crispy baked veggie chips at home and fill up on tomatoes, lettuce, celery and olives.
- Red meat. If you’re craving meat, you likely have an iron or zinc deficiency or have low stomach acid. Eat foods rich in both iron and zinc like organ meats, lentils, spirulina, pumpkin, dark chocolate, figs and pastured and grass-fed meats. To address low stomach acid, try taking a tablespoon of apple-cider vinegar with 2 to 4 ounces of water at mealtime.
- Sweets. A craving for dessert may mean you are stressed or are suffering from low blood sugar. Instead of reaching for a cookie, incorporate more healthy fats like avocado, raw nuts and seeds, coconut butter and coconut oil into your diet.
- Soda. Soda cravings are due to sodium imbalances and/or a calcium deficiency. Eat whole foods high in calcium such as leafy greens, molasses and full-fat, raw dairy products.
- Coffee and caffeine. If you feel like you just have to have that next cup of coffee, you may have a sulphur or phosphorus deficiency. Eat cruciferous vegetables, cranberries, horseradish, garlic, onion and healthy fats.
Do you want to learn more about your cravings and how to crack them? It all starts with understanding your gut health. Get a free guide to gut health on Lauryn Lax’s website, healyourgut.gr8.com.